I will be honest with you – never in my childhood my mum or my grandma baked pies looking like this one. Whenever I thought of pies as a kid I pictured what my grandmother used to make – a roll kind of pie made of bread dough, rolled very thinly and filled with cheese or fruits – it was delicious, but it did not have so much fruit and butter, it was not crusty and crunchy, but rather soft and airy. I began to bake double crusted pies only after I started pastry, about 8-9 years ago. And even though I have tried many versions along the way, my favorite remains the apple pie. It’s so simple and yet so tasty, so humble and yet is shines with juiciness and flavor. And it’s perfect for this season when apples can be found pretty much everywhere!
There’s just 3 components in this apple pie, but every single one of them is delicious:
- Pate brisee
- Thickening sauce
- Apple filling
Pate brisee literally means broken dough and the reason for this name is the way the dough looks when it is almost done – like pieces of dough that have been broken. It’s a dough that has a similar texture to puff pastry and it can only get its texture from small pieces of butter still left in the dough. For this reason, all the ingredients are cold and the mixing time is short. There is no kneading involved either for the exact same reason – to form and protect small pieces of butter that form tiny pockets which will later help the dough puff slightly.
The thickening sauce has two purposes: the first is to thicken the juice of the apples and the second is to add more flavor. All that butter and brown sugar can only improve the final taste of the pie. Moreover, while cooking the sauce, the sugar also starts to slightly caramelize, so bonus points for that!
The apple filling becomes delicious with all that butter thickening sauce. But get creative and use other fruits instead of apples if you feel like it. Pears or strawberries would be amazing in this combo as well!
How to make Apple Pie
- 300 g all-purpose flour
- 20 g icing sugar
- 3 g salt
- 225 g butter cold and cubed
- 90-120 g cold water
- 110 g butter
- 40 g all-purpose flour
- 60 g water
- 120 g white sugar
- 80 g brown sugar
- The thickening sauce
- 2 kg apples ~ 8 medium size apples
- 2 g cinnamon powder
- 1 egg for egg wash
- Demerara sugar
- Combine the flour, icing sugar and salt, as well as butter in a food processor. Pulse briefly just until the ingredients are combined and the butter is broken into pea-size pieces.
- Add the water, gradually. Start with 90g then add more if the dough feels too dry. I eventually added all 120g and it was perfect. Once you add the water, just pulse a few more seconds until combined. The final dough should look wet, easy to gather in a ball, but still have pieces of butter.
- Transfer on your working surface and gather the dough into a ball. Do no knead it!
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces: 2/3 for the bottom crust, 1/3 for the top crust. Wrap into foil and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Melt the butter.
- Add the flour and cook for a few minutes, then add the sugars and continue cooking. Stir in the water and keep on heat, cooking until the sauce begins to thicken and brown.
- Allow to cool down before using.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
To assemble the pie:
- Remove the larger quantity of dough from the fridge and roll it to 3-4mm thickness.
- Transfer in your prepared baking tray - deep dish 20cm diameter tart pan in my case. Arrange the dough in the pan then cut off the excess.
- Transfer the filling into the crust.
- For the top crust, roll out the remaining dough. Arrange it over the pie and seal the edges.
- From the leftover dough, cut out small circles and decorate the edges of the pie. Make sure to cut a few holes in the top crust as well in order to allow the steams to escape.
- Brush the pie with egg wash then sprinkle it with demerara sugar.
- Bake at 200C for 10 minutes then at 160C for 50 minutes more.
- Cool down completely before slicing.